Tessuti Skylines Competition

I had it in my head that I wanted a floaty, ruffly, backless, maxi dress. The challenge was in producing a dress that wasn’t too girly in such a (potentially) twee fabric. The fabric is really, very beautiful though. It’s a linen blend, with a lovely, crinkly texture that becomes more apparent after washing. I’m not one who likes my linen crisp. I love the way linen fabric creases and crinkles.

The design is my own, but I’ll talk you through it a bit. I honestly believe that if you have a couple of different well fitting bodice patterns in your stash, you can make virtually anything from them. This started off as a standard princess-seamed bodice that I had draped to my shape months ago. I modified the design to remove the shoulder seams so I could attach straps instead. I also lowered the back to not much more than an inch above my waist. And I lowered the back waistline to create a slightly hi-low look at the waist seam. I further exagerated the hi-lo effect in the first skirt panel, but kept the last gathered, skirt panel as a very long rectangle.

The bodice is detailed with bias binding that I cut as one inch strips and left the edges raw. I love the slightly frazzled look of well-considered, raw edges in fashion right now. I seamed these into the princess seams, the waist seam, and on either side of the back zipper. As they are cut on the bias, they shouldn’t really fray too much with wear, however I am looking forward to them looking more pronounced and “ruffled” after a few launderings.

To help keep up the weight of the skirt, I added a waist stay to the dress. This is basically a soft petersham ribbon handstitched at points along the waist. I cut up an old bra for the closures. I used the cups from this same bra to add a little shape to the front of the dress. I toyed with inserting the cups properly under the lining before I attached the skirt, but I think they may annoy me down the track, in which case I can still easily remove them.

I can tie the back in a few different ways, but my favourite is the backless version you see in the majority of the photos.

I’m very pleased with how this dress turned out. It’s a fancy dress, made from a very down-to-earth fabric. I love the contradiction in this. It’s something that I would feel very comfortable in dressing up to wear to an important occasion.

8 thoughts on “Tessuti Skylines Competition

  1. Claire

    Wow, beautiful job! I used to have a similar favourite summer dress like this and would love to sew up something like this. Do you have any plans to share or sell the pattern!? Great blog – I am a new subscriber!


  2. judy f koerner

    Hi, I am a 76 yr. old lady not inclined to sew many garments anymore, but let me tell you that is the most beautiful, sexy dress I have ever seen. Love your techniques, fabric, etc. Don’t imagine there are many fellas who wouldn’t be hard pressed to keep their fingers off those back ties. Thankfully, you put the bra-closure on it. Judy in Newport News , VA


  3. Christine

    I love it, it is something I would have made had I been slightly younger. Congratulations, it will never date
    and you can dress it up or dress it down.
    Well done.


  4. Mary

    Very cute and I think it hit all the boxes you were trying to fill, very well. The backless version is my favorite, too. I know I would have put the bra under the lining and then have to rip it out later from it bugging me. I’ll file that away for later, thanks! I’m not a fan of high/low hems but the picture with you walking in it, is just lovely. Good job!


  5. Pingback: All the pretty linen scraps |

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